Features// Rhythm and the Revolution

Posted 25 Jul 2008 17:41 by
Apparently Harmonix was initially worried that there was no market for a rock game as the music charts were swamped with R&B, dance music and gangly uni-indie bands. Luckily for them, and as I've always hoped, the charts were not an accurate reflection of the whole of society, or even just of young people. With a selection of songs which tapped into the nostalgia of older generations, like Ace of Spades, as well as the bands for the kids like Sum 41 and a few that no-one had ever heard of (Din? Drist?) it captured hearts and minds in a way that politicians would (and have) killed for. Which might be where they're going wrong.

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly for the series. GHII was even more popular, and around the country kids were starting to dream of careers that they had neither inclination or talent for prior to this experience. Then came the importing of Rock Band and people started screaming, like 'The End of the World is Nigh'-sign-holding lunatics in the streets, ?You don't know! You don't know! Ignore false prophets! Buy Rock Band! Remember I told you.?

People were sobbing uncontrollably outside Game as consumers, impatient and previously justified, bought GHIII Legends of Rock. Activision had let Neversoft take the reigns. It had cobbled together a game that was too difficult for the numerous new players buying for the 360 or PS3 to progress beyond Easy with; it seemed to rely on celebrity endorsement rather than adding anything exciting to the mix save some more Metallica Dad-metal lol. Rock Band, meanwhile, was all excitement.

Harmonix had decided to use its previous knowledge and intuitive hipness to blow GH3 out of the water. My previous article/blog things on Rock BandFeel the dampness of my gusset! are overwhelmed with simpering, drooling fan-girliness. This has not evaporated over the eight months since, unlike the GTA 4 fling, which left me feeling used and empty.

With Rock Band, however, I can still wibble on endlessly about the beautiful graphics and that exquisite opening sequence, which still makes my heart flutter and makes me want to attempt it just so I can die in the coolest manner possible.

Many wars have been fought over the musical choices on each track list and over the style, shape, keys, fretboard size and any other variation possible on the guitars. All of these subjects are entirely subjective and so require each individual to make their own minds up on them, though for my money Rock Band takes the lead here as well.

On the subject of graphics and character customisation however, I am inclined to pick up a placard and join the other nutters in the shopping centres. I am relieved of this impulse by the ability to go into larger computer shops and play Rock Band in public under the illusion that I am helping to boost sales figures while looking effortlessly chic on the drums. Oh, the drums. Guitar Hero players are missing so much. Or at least, they were.
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